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View Full Version : What would you have done???


LwnmwrMan22
05-02-2008, 05:11 PM
I had a call today, customer in a well-to-do neighborhood. I've already been doing a couple of neighbors of his, and over the winter they dropped my name and number to him.

Anyways, we're talking, and I ask over the phone "how big is your yard, do you know the sq. ft. of the turf?" He says "I put down 8-10 bags of fertilizer 4 times per year, 15k sq ft bags".

I thought that's odd, no one in that area has 4 acre yards, they're all about 1 acre of turf.

I said okay, so 8-10 bags per year, right? He said no, 35-40 bags per year.

I said you do realize that you're over applying, right? He said "yes, but I want it thick and green".

I continued on saying that what you're doing isn't really working, it'd be like painting your house 20 times per year, 4 different times of applying 5 coats. The first time would do the trick, with maybe a second coat to touch things up, but after that you're not gaining anything.

I stopped by today and it's about 40k sq ft of turf. I quoted him a price of $160 per app. He said does that include double fertilizing. I said no, that's using the proper amount of fertilizer for your yard.

He said how much more to double fertilize it. I said I would not do that. It's not good for the health of the yard and it's just a waste of product as well as his money.

He said no thanks, that he'll keep doing it himself.

Would you have purposefully overapplied to get the account?? Or just cut back on the application rate and covered the property 3-4 times so it looked like you're overapplying?? Or turn down the account like I did?

RAlmaroad
05-02-2008, 05:25 PM
NO. Say: "Tthank you, but you do realize that unless the soil is within a certain alakaline/acidic base, your grass cannot absorb any fertilize no matter how much fertilize is available. It's like being drunk; enough booze gets you drunk, drink more than that and it kills you."

stressed
05-02-2008, 05:48 PM
Yes let it go,i cant stand a customer that thinks he knows evrything.Why do they even call just do it themselves and have an ugly lawn.

Frank Fescue
05-02-2008, 07:55 PM
if the customer wants it you'd be foolish not to provide it. set expectations for the customer and get his sig on a contract to tell you that he's the one who advised you to do so. then shortchange him on the fert.

kbrashears
05-02-2008, 08:35 PM
That is encroaching on some serious environmental issues as well.

That guy needs an education. Not so you can pick him up, but for the good of everyone.

humble1
05-02-2008, 10:50 PM
NO. Say: "Tthank you, but you do realize that unless the soil is within a certain alakaline/acidic base, your grass cannot absorb any fertilize no matter how much fertilize is available. It's like being drunk; enough booze gets you drunk, drink more than that and it kills you."

can i use that:laugh:

humble1
05-02-2008, 10:52 PM
I had a call today, customer in a well-to-do neighborhood. I've already been doing a couple of neighbors of his, and over the winter they dropped my name and number to him.

Anyways, we're talking, and I ask over the phone "how big is your yard, do you know the sq. ft. of the turf?" He says "I put down 8-10 bags of fertilizer 4 times per year, 15k sq ft bags".

I thought that's odd, no one in that area has 4 acre yards, they're all about 1 acre of turf.

I said okay, so 8-10 bags per year, right? He said no, 35-40 bags per year.

I said you do realize that you're over applying, right? He said "yes, but I want it thick and green".

I continued on saying that what you're doing isn't really working, it'd be like painting your house 20 times per year, 4 different times of applying 5 coats. The first time would do the trick, with maybe a second coat to touch things up, but after that you're not gaining anything.

I stopped by today and it's about 40k sq ft of turf. I quoted him a price of $160 per app. He said does that include double fertilizing. I said no, that's using the proper amount of fertilizer for your yard.

He said how much more to double fertilize it. I said I would not do that. It's not good for the health of the yard and it's just a waste of product as well as his money.

He said no thanks, that he'll keep doing it himself.

Would you have purposefully overapplied to get the account?? Or just cut back on the application rate and covered the property 3-4 times so it looked like you're overapplying?? Or turn down the account like I did?

I think you should drop a call to your local dept of enviromental services, and the EPA. Wait I think your customer is the brother of my lady that was telling me how and when to do do tick control.:hammerhead::hammerhead:

lifetree
05-02-2008, 10:54 PM
Yeah, the other posts are right ... walk away from the job and just know that you did the right thing !!

lawnspecialties
05-02-2008, 11:04 PM
I wouldn't even give it a second thought. You did the right thing. This yard is a time bomb waiting to happen.

DLCS
05-02-2008, 11:08 PM
Sounds to me like you acted very proffesional.

(wi) Roots
05-02-2008, 11:37 PM
You did the right thing! You wouldn't have made him happy!

mngrassguy
05-03-2008, 03:09 AM
Not to mention against the law.

whoopassonthebluegrass
05-03-2008, 03:46 AM
Shoulda asked him if he puts extra oil in his car to make sure it runs super good...

mngrassguy
05-03-2008, 05:08 AM
Or uses 2 condoms for....aw, never mind

PHS
05-03-2008, 07:40 AM
From a business standpoint, the problem with a customer like that is if they are that obsessed with the fertilizer they're going to be the same with everything else and are going to drive you crazy. Also at some point the plants are probably going to completely crap out from over-fertilizing and you're really going to have a mess on your hands.

I'm normally not a big fan of getting into other people's business but if he's really doing what he says he's doing, a call to the local EPA office is probably in all of our best interest.

Buckskinner38
05-03-2008, 10:31 AM
I'm wondering about something that you wrote.

1) What was the N-P-K application ratio that the customer was using? Is it slow or fast release or a combination of both.

2) What type of turf was he dealing with? Warm or cool season?

3) How did the yard look when you talked to him? Was it burnt? Did he have a fungus issue? Did he have a weed problem?

4) And last but not least, when in the season, did he apply the last dose of fertilizer?

On some of our "Hi" profile areas we have been known to split our application rates through out the year so it looks like we are constantly applying fertilizer. But the kicker is that we are not doing anything extraordinary except adding things like Iron for color and 2-4,D or MSMA for weed control. The reason for this is so we can deliver a nice yard based and adapt to current environmental conditions.

AustinLawnscape
05-03-2008, 11:10 AM
I had the same thought as Buckskinner38 with using Iron and/or micro nutrients to green things up.

A little education for the consumer. Odds are, this guy isn't going to be "happy" unless he's/you are over fertilizing.

Buckskinner38
05-03-2008, 11:17 AM
A few more question:
1) What did he use to apply the fertilizer... Garden Hose or spreader and how did he calibrate his application rate? Is he a fast walker or does he just trot along?

2) How much traffic is he dealing with? I assume not much since its a residential...

LwnmwrMan22
05-03-2008, 11:22 AM
A few more question:
1) What did he use to apply the fertilizer... Garden Hose or spreader and how did he calibrate his application rate? Is he a fast walker or does he just trot along?

2) How much traffic is he dealing with? I assume not much since its a residential...

You need to reread the first post. He covered his property with 8-10 bags per round, 15k bags.

It's not overly technical with a homeowner like this, they're going to be applying Scott's or whatever fert / combo they get a Home Depot / Wal-Mart.

I agree that a professional may be going over a property different times than normal for different reasons, but not in this home owners' situation.

It was hard to tell what the grass is looking like, as our ground temps are still close to 40 degrees in most areas.

Buckskinner38
05-03-2008, 11:44 AM
He says "I put down 8-10 bags of fertilizer 4 times per year, 15k sq ft bags".

I thought that's odd, no one in that area has 4 acre yards, they're all about 1 acre of turf.

I said okay, so 8-10 bags per year, right? He said no, 35-40 bags per year.



Ok Gotch ya, let me see if I read this right:
He bought the BIG bags of the Scotts 28-2-3 or whatever that was sold to him that covers 15,000' SqFt per app and has layed out enough fertilizer to cover a small PARK for the whole year?

LwnmwrMan22
05-03-2008, 11:45 AM
Ok Gotch ya, let me see if I read this right:
He bought the BIG bags of the Scotts 28-2-3 or whatever that was sold to him that covers 15,000' SqFt per app and has layed out enough fertilizer to cover a small PARK for the whole year?

THERE you go....

He denied my service when I would only put down the required rate at the 'required' intervals.

Buckskinner38
05-03-2008, 11:50 AM
So... How DID his yard look? I mean it sounds like a train wreck, You dont wanna look, but you just got to look!

LwnmwrMan22
05-03-2008, 12:51 PM
So... How DID his yard look? I mean it sounds like a train wreck, You dont wanna look, but you just got to look!

I looked "normal" for a yard that's just had snow on it a week ago.

It's somewhat hard to tell what's mold and what's just grass that's still dormant this time of year, especially when you have no idea of how they mowed or what the yard looked like previously. It wasn't completely distressed looking though, although he's got to either be putting TONS of work into it, or he's not telling the truth about that much fert.

I didn't get a real long chance to talk with him, to find out what the reason was for him putting that much fertilizer on, whether he thought it looked better (dark green), wanted to mow every day, or what.

I tried to explain to him how proper care would make the grass healthier and better looking, without the straight fert., but he wasn't really playing along, so that's when I just said "think about it, and give me a call back".

Buckskinner38
05-03-2008, 02:24 PM
Or he could have been using some sort of organic fertilizer like milorganite or blood meal. With exception to the Milorganite the blood meal is hi in nitrogen. The Blood meal would be a fast release and neither of them would burn a lawn. Well let be rephrase that by saying its possibilities to burn a lawn are LOW...

I cant see a cool season grass yard taken on that amount of Nitrogen and not get burned.

For all we know his septic tank may have been leaking or is full:cry:

LwnmwrMan22
05-03-2008, 02:50 PM
If he doesn't call back by Monday, I'm going to give a follow up call, let him have time to think over the weekend.

I'm taking this on as a challenge, plus I want to get the soil samples, see what's really in that yard.

I personally can't believe he's been putting on 4-5 x's the amount of fertilizer that's for his yard.

Either he's putting 8-10 bags per season on, or he's using the 5k sq ft bags per round.

The more I think about it, the more I think of it as an insult to my intelligence. I've been doing this (as have many on this board) long enough to know that if you're doing that much fert., that either it's going to burn out the yard, or you're mowing every day and your water bill is unbelievable.

Either of which I can't understand why you'd do, even if you had so much money you had no other idea what to do with. For what it's worth, these houses are in the $600k-2.5M range, which you east coast guys would be looking at $1.5-4M for these places.... remember, this is the midwest.

http://www.cbburnet.com/CustomModules/Property/PropertyDetail.aspx?propertyguid=316d6c59-3851-490d-a4e2-428ce9a65cba&WT.mc_ID=351810000000000

There's a link to the type of property we're talking about, this house is across the street and one house to the west.

Here's another house that's about 5 to the west of this property.

http://www.edinarealty.com/Listing/ListingDetail.aspx?Listing=26797587

PHS
05-03-2008, 06:46 PM
The more I think about it, the more I think of it as an insult to my intelligence. I've been doing this (as have many on this board) long enough to know that if you're doing that much fert., that either it's going to burn out the yard, or you're mowing every day and your water bill is unbelievable.

I've had that happen lots of times. A customer tells you something and since half the time they don't know what they're talking about and the the other half are telling stories to get you to do something it's easy to misread sometimes :). Nice neighborhood there.

Buckskinner38
05-04-2008, 12:03 AM
Let us know how it turns out. Even if you don't get the job. I'm curious as to what he has to say on what he has done to his yard... So turn on that salesman charm and patronize him!:walking:

humble1
05-04-2008, 10:41 AM
I had a call today, customer in a well-to-do neighborhood. I've already been doing a couple of neighbors of his, and over the winter they dropped my name and number to him.

Anyways, we're talking, and I ask over the phone "how big is your yard, do you know the sq. ft. of the turf?" He says "I put down 8-10 bags of fertilizer 4 times per year, 15k sq ft bags".

I thought that's odd, no one in that area has 4 acre yards, they're all about 1 acre of turf.

I said okay, so 8-10 bags per year, right? He said no, 35-40 bags per year.

I said you do realize that you're over applying, right? He said "yes, but I want it thick and green".

I continued on saying that what you're doing isn't really working, it'd be like painting your house 20 times per year, 4 different times of applying 5 coats. The first time would do the trick, with maybe a second coat to touch things up, but after that you're not gaining anything.

I stopped by today and it's about 40k sq ft of turf. I quoted him a price of $160 per app. He said does that include double fertilizing. I said no, that's using the proper amount of fertilizer for your yard.

He said how much more to double fertilize it. I said I would not do that. It's not good for the health of the yard and it's just a waste of product as well as his money.

He said no thanks, that he'll keep doing it himself.

Would you have purposefully overapplied to get the account?? Or just cut back on the application rate and covered the property 3-4 times so it looked like you're overapplying?? Or turn down the account like I did?

If he is putting down 8-10 5000 sq ft bags he would be on the money.
if he was putting down what he says the amount of N would fry the lawnjust like if you stopped spreading and dropped a pile.

Stillwater
05-06-2008, 07:15 AM
That is encroaching on some serious environmental issues as well.

That guy needs an education. Not so you can pick him up, but for the good of everyone.

Please tell all of us the consequences to double ferting your lawn

LushGreenLawn
05-06-2008, 07:50 AM
Please tell all of us the consequences to double ferting your lawn

Do you really need an explination?:dizzy:

kbrashears
05-06-2008, 10:27 AM
Please tell all of us the consequences to double ferting your lawn

Do I really have to get into leaching? Nevermind N overload on the plants.

Stillwater
05-06-2008, 10:56 AM
Do you really need an explination?:dizzy:

I would have refused the paying customers request. But ME hell I 2X's rate my lawn often.... so.... Yes tell me.......